So my mum's T-5450-based laptop got a bit old and she started saving for a new one.
Except for the usual web and office usage she loves to mess around with thousands of photos, editing in Photoshop Elements and compiling them in relatively large Powerpoint presentations. Those Powerpoint files being the reason she was running out of RAM (32bit Vista) and the system getting stuck.
I proposed to keep the laptop for mobile needs (which are few) and build a small, more powerful workstation.
She agreed, so here goes:
- Pentium G4400
- Noctua NH-L9i
- ASRock H110M-ITX/ac
- Crucial DIMM Kit 8GB, DDR4-2133
- Samsung EVO 840 250GB (take over from laptop, put back old HDD into laptop)
- SilverStone Milo ML05
- SilverStone Strider Series 300W SFX12V
Add mouse/keyboard combo and small speakers and this upgrade cost a bit over €350,- without screen.
I started off trying the stock cooler, as I thought that it should be easy to get rid of so little heat.
(Imprint of the TIM supplied with the cooler - well, at least I tried)
Turns out, you can't dial down the stock fan below 1000RPM. It does produce a soft, but annoying whining noise.
Enter the Noctua NH-L9i and enjoy the silence:
This cooler is really good. This curve shows P95 with 0RPM for a while and then 30% (1030RPM). At this speed the fan is already inaudible. It still is possible to dial it down to ~600RPM for lighter loads.
The power supply stays passive always. I did torture the whole rig for a whole hour with all openings covered to heat up the box. Eventually the heat threshold was reached and the PSU fan started turning. It is very quiet, too, so no worries there.
This is the rig up and running:
She is happy and I think it does look good, too.
Idling this PC takes 12-13W from the wall. It sits ~1m away from her head and is completely inaudible from there.
What I really liked about this build:
- CPU: snappy like hell for very little money.
- CPU cooler: small, powerful and very silent. Even at full RPM the fan produces a broadband whoosh without any tonality.
- Mobo: Great fan control. I did install speedfan for testing purposes, but BIOS fan control is just as good for this kind of build. Useful "silent" preset and a custom preset with 4 points, which can be shifted around +/-1°C and +/-1% PWM.
- Case: Very good build quality; pretty versatile (2 options to put in a PCIe card; extra fans; slimm ODD and/or extra HDDs). Just the right size to still be regarded as small. I do like the clean and simple look, but that's just me.
- PSU: The fact, that this is a semi-passive SFX PSU. 300W is overkill of course, I did consider going picoPSU, but that would have been more expensive, I also have a better feeling about longevity with this PSU. (I am the one, who has to go and fix things that break)
Thanks for reading and thanks to this great community at SPCR. I visit this site almost daily and have learnt a lot. Selecting the bits for this build was a pleasure, as I knew from the beginning, what I was looking for in a specific part.